Oral diabetes medications work differently than injected insulin. By injecting insulin, the patient is simply replacing the insulin that they are unable to make due to the condition. Oral medications work with the body to increase the amount of insulin produced, cause the body to use the insulin more efficiently, or alter the metabolism of the food injested in a way that lowers the amount of sugar in the blood. All of these methods rely on the body being able to produce a minimal amount of insulin, so these work best for patients with Type II diabetes. If there is no insulin production at all, also known as type I, these drugs will be ineffective, and insulin will need to be used as the method of treatment. More information on this can be found here.
In most cases, the drugs only work for a short period of time, and then the dosage must be increased or the patient must switch to a different version of the same drug. For this reason, it has become common to use a combination of two or more drugs to control diabetes. As one alone begins to lose effectiveness, this is supplimented with a second drug. In some cases, physicians have even begun to suggest a regimine of three drugs, but there have been no long term studies to prove that this is actually benificial. More information about the treatment of diabetes can be found in this part of the webpage, and more information about medications used to control diabetes, both types, can be found here.
There is much present research devoted to developing new diabetes medications for those pateints who the already developed medications have become uneffective, the page is listed in the links section below.
Links to pages describing the common classes of oral diabetic medications are listed below:
Amino Acid D-Phenylalanine Derivatives
A review of oral diabetes medications
More information about diabetes medications
Lots of interesting diabetes links